Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In The Game Ultimate Memorabilia 8 - Pack Break

These caught my eye at the Expo but with an approximate cost of $150CDN/pack and $750CDN/box, they were just out of my price range.  On the weekend, I was lucky enough to win a pack on eBay for $78US.  In The Game has rarely, if ever, let me down.  So here we go.  One pack.  Three cards.  Fingers crossed for something fun.

First card:
Joe Thornton - Ultimate Base Card - Silver /90

The base cards are quite dynamic.  A nice change from recent years.

Second Card:
Alexei Cherepanov - New Millenium First Rounders - Silver /40 - Auto/Jersey(white)

A beautiful card, striking design, and an interesting signature.  The recently deceased Cherepanov will always be remembered in hockey circles for his unfortunate death in Russia during a game a few months ago.  His vast potential will never be known.  I'm quite happy with this card.

Third Card:
Joe Sakic - Ultimate Stick Rack - Silver /24

Cool!  My first Stick Rack card.  To get one of a sure-thing HOF'er is even better.  Unfortunately, the stick piece is non-descript.  It looks like a long line of yellow-ish plastic/glue.   Too bad he doesn't play with a wooden stick.  Still, it's a nice addition to the collection.

Fall Sports Card Expo 2008 - Toronto (Update)

My full recap will follow soon.  I've been laying low due to a cold which has struck me down since the end of the Expo.  I received a nice package in the mail today so I'll do a pack break in a few minutes.  Then my next task, after posting the break, will be my Expo Update.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall Sports Card Expo 2008 - Toronto

I'll soon be jumping on a plane headed for Toronto.  This weekend is the bi-annual Sports Card Expo at the International Centre.   This will be my third visit in a row, the previous ones being in November 2007 and May 2008.  I'll have a run-down on my purchases and the fun upon my return.  I see lots of box-busting in my future!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Hockey isn't all glamour and cash.  When a newly-drafted, 18 year-old Mike Ricci came to the NHL, things looked bright.  A sniper in junior hockey and rugged, good looks.

15 years later and a gradual career change from a sniper to a grinder, Mike Ricci barely looks like the same man.  But who wouldn't want to go to war with a guy who looks like this... 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fake Sports Card of the Day

The ever-cute Hayden Panettiere being frisky on her first date with the Stanley Cup.

'Staches, 'Fros, and Bad Do's

Have you ever noticed that professional athletes today often look much different from professional athletes from decades ago?  Case in point, these three cards from 1976-77 O-Pee-Chee:

Len Frig was a defenseman for the now defunct Cleveland Barons.  His hockey card states that "Len is an excellent skater".   However, Len is not excellent with his hairbrush. 

Jerry Korab was a defenseman for the Buffalo Sabres and his nickname was King Kong.  Love the 'stache, Jerry... and kudos on the necklace.

Ernie Hicke, a winger for the Minnesota North Stars "operates a hockey school in the off-season."  Ernie also operates with little regard to style.... another rockin' necklace and an afro for the ages.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Ever get that feeling?  That need to make the collection smaller?

eBay seems to be the best way.  Trading.  Selling on hobby sites.  They're all good.  Even giving some of the lesser-wanted junk to young kids.  Turning them into future addicts.

The trouble is that it just takes so much time.  Scanning photos, writing descriptions, dealing, mailing.

It almost makes you stop before you even start...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Card of the Week

A beautiful card from 2008-09 Upper Deck Legends Masterpieces.  The Sutter family in all their glory.  Ron, Rich, Darryl, Duane, Brent, and Brian.  There are a lot of portrait-style cards in the set and the artistry is quite good.  They are much better than the base cards from In The Game Ultimate. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Beckett Website

Beckett has been behind the growth of the sports card industry since the early 1990's and their website has been a great asset for player collectors, organizing collections, their magazine and their online price guide.   Recently, Beckett has over-hauled their website.  The new format has been met with criticism on many forums  due to its lack of user-friendly features, introduction of trading fees, and changes to many of its formats.  Collectors are frustrated due to the amount of time it takes to familiarize oneself to the new site and the difficulty in doing tasks which used to be simple.

From my experience, the site has declined in usefulness.  The new site is not user-friendly and is overly complicated.  However, besides the handy player collector features which allow a person to create a list of most available cards of a certain player, I never used the site much to begin with.  The reason... it never offered anything else that I needed.

If I want a list of player cards or a quick price check, I go to Beckett.  If I want insightful discussion on new products, uncensored hobby talk, access to cards thru trading, or opportunities to buy/sell without using eBay, then I will visit one of the many message boards and web forums available online.   Using the Beckett website is similar to only getting your news from CNN.  You're only getting one story from one angle.   The various web forums such as HobbyInsider give many viewpoints from many different collectors, and for the most part, these views are uncensored and do not serve the interests of a corporate entity.

If the new Beckett website wants to alienate collectors, fine.  Other than the production of a price guide and the player collection database, its relevance to the hobby has been declining on an annual basis.  Real collectors have much better assets available to them on the internet anyway.  And for the most part, they were already using them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fake Sports Card of the Day

This one would definitely end up in a few collections... and it would be the cornerstone of my Montreal Canadiens collection.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sports Card Expo

I've booked my flight for the Sports Card Expo in Toronto for November 14-16, 2008. It is the largest sportscard/memorabilia show in Canada. This will be my third consecutive appearance. It is a great experience and a great opportunity to meet and get autographs from former professional athletes and the selection of merchandise is unsurpassed in Canada.

It is also a excellent chance to meet other collectors and to visit display booths from manufacturers such as In The Game and Upper Deck.

Friday, August 1, 2008

2007-08 The Cup Break - Card by Card

Okay, well in my mailbox was a fresh tin of The Cup.  The plastic packaging is off and the cover is about to be lifted.  I'll break it card by card.

Here we go:

Card #1 is....  Bernie Parent base card /299.  Not bad.  A great goaltender in his day for the Flyers.  I can also tell that there appears to be 5 cards in this pack.  I believe you're guaranteed 4 cards so hopefully I get something a little special or a nice Montreal Canadien (not Michael Ryder though).

Sliding Bernie Parent out of the way....
Card #2 is...  Curtis McElhinney RC Patch (black) Autograph /249.  A Calgary Flames goaltending prospect.  I can't say much about him as I don't know much about him other than he's got one of the best in front of him before he could be called a starter.  He does have a nice autograph though.  Hopefully, he turns out to be a player.

Sliding Curtis out of the way...
Card #3 is...  this could be interesting, I see Mario Lemieux's face.  I've never rec'd an autograph of his before... fingers crossed... BEAUTIFUL!  A Mario Lemieux Limited Logos Auto Patch /50.  The patch is gold/black/white with stitching/black.  And his auto is very stylish.  Now I know what one looks like in my own hands.  Sweet.  The final two cards are just a bonus after this.

Sliding Mario slowly out of the way...
Card #4 is...  a Martin Brodeur Gold Jersey card /25 (white).  Pretty boring.  I've never been a Brodeur fan.  In my opinion, his statistics are just a product of the defensive trap system played by New Jersey.  He'll never match Patrick Roy in my eyes.

Moving Brodeur out of the way... final card...
Card #5 is... Rob Schremp Magenta Printing Plate 1/1.  Very nice!  A plate from UD MVP, I believe.  A solid Edmonton Oilers prospect.  The Oilers could have an exciting team this year.  

All in all, a very solid pack.  An auto/patch of one of the greatest to ever play.  A 1/1 printing plate, and three goalies.  Never a bad thing when you play nets yourself.   :)  No Habs though... another time. 

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Expensive Packs vs. Inexpensive Boxes

There is a lot of debate these days about the price of high-end products such as The Cup, OPC Premier, ITG Superlative, and UD Ultimate.  Many of these products are out of the price range of many hobby-ists.  Some say it is gradually destroying the hobby.  I look at it from a different view point.

Inexpensive boxes are for everyone.  They're for the kids, the hobby-ists, the completionists, the set-builders, and even for the big spenders, as they often just want to buy some packs.  The big hits aren't always available but you get lots of cards for your money.

Expensive boxes are for the investors and the thrill seekers.  Everyone enjoys the excitement of the big hit and sometimes these packs provide them.  These packs usually contain autographs and memorabilia cards, short prints and inserts.

For me, I want the hits.  Especially autographed cards.  With the number of cards in my collection, hundreds of commons just don't appeal to me.  Breaking open boxes of lower-end products just leaves me with more and more of them.  I just don't have the room.

As for justification, just think about it.  I can buy three or four boxes of lower-end or mid-range product and get four or five hits total as well as hundreds of commons... or I can buy one high-end pack for the same total price and get four or five hits and virtually no commons.  Plus, often the higher-end products contain more celebrated players.

For my player collections, which need the low end cards and commons, I can just trade for them or buy them off eBay.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

2007-08 In The Game Superlative

An expensive break... but very exciting.  (not pictured is a Ted Lindsay autograph)

The Phil Esposito is a 1/1, the Lafontaine is /10 and the Luongo is /9.
Hard-signed autos, Hall of Famers, Prospects.  No commons.
It's nice to have guaranteed hits... not every box can be a winner but it's fun to try.

Collector vs. Accumulator

I read an interesting article a while ago which compared two types of people, collectors and accumulators.   Anyone who knows me knows that I have many collections, hockey cards being number one on that list.  But after reading the article, I realized that I am an accumulator and not necessarily a collector.

I don't think it's a bad thing.  It is frustrating as space disappears in the house due to my gathering skills but many of my things have investment potential and some have paid off nicely.  Other things have nostalgic value, although I take that to an extreme sometimes.  Give me a call if you'd like to flip through my scribblers from Grade 3... I still have them.

Focus is the key.  Finding the time to sell off or trade or even toss these things takes time.  I wish I had enough time.  Too often it's one thing at a time... one piece every week or so.  But that won't cut it.  I've decided to focus my efforts.  It will take time.  I've started by giving large boxes of older commons to some local kids.  My decision is made.  Now I just need to continue following through.